WOODBURY - Suffolk officials on Monday announced one of the largest and most diverse police academy classes in the county police department's history.
The move will increase police presence and decrease the amount of overtime officers work.
"It will put younger officers on the job working straight time," says Commissioner Tim Sini. "So they have the energy to be productive, to make arrests, to engage in traffic enforcement and self-initiated activity."
In all, 175 recruits will join the upcoming academy class in the fall.
In addition to being one of the county's largest classes, it may also be the most diverse, officials say.
"We are continually working on making sure that the department and its makeup reflects the communities in which it serves," says County Executive Steve Bellone.
Officials say 17,055 people applied for the new class. They say 5,731 were minorities. Of the 2,390 existing police officers, only 298 come from minority backgrounds.
County Legislator Monica Martinez says having Spanish-speaking police officers will be a boon in some communities — especially her district, which has a large population of people who speak the language.